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Farm Fueled Friday 5/18

It’s Friday As many of you wind your work week down and begin to think about the possibilities of visiting the beach, cooking out in the backyard, and enjoying the great outdoors, our Santa Rosa County farmers continue to produce fresh fruits and vegetables for all of us to enjoy.  For this first week of Farm Fueled Friday, I would like to introduce you to the many different aspects of small farms in Santa Rosa County.

A big aspect of small farms in our county consists of fresh vegetable production.  We have many producers located as far south as Navarre, all the way to the Florida/Alabama state line.  These different vegetable growers use different methods of production, such as traditional in-ground production or container production.  We have several farmers who use plastic mulch to help with weed pressure, moisture control, and also to bring an earlier crop in the spring.  Our vegetable growers do a great job of supporting the local farmers markets, and Santa Rosa County is very well represented at the Palafox Farmers Market in downtown Pensacola.

Fresh fruits are also produced here in Santa Rosa County.  The county does not have as many fruit producers as vegetable producers, but blueberries are an up and coming venture for some small farmers. We can grow two different types of blueberries in Santa Rosa County.  The first is the Rabbiteye cultivars; these cultivars are generally a firm and smaller fruit.  The firmness makes the Rabbiteye more suitable for mechanical harvest than our other cultivars, the Southern highbush.  The Southern Highbush was developed by crossing the highbush varieties of Michigan and New Jersey with wild varieties in Florida.  In the 1970’s, the first Southern Highbush varieties were released from the University of Florida.  The Southern Highbush has become the blueberry of choice for commercial shipping.  The Southern Highbush, because of early flowering, is also very susceptible to spring freezes and generally need spring frost protection.  There are many other fruits that can be produced in Santa Rosa county including: peaches, apples, muscadines, satsumas, oriental persimmons, and blackberries.

This brings us to one of Farm Fueled Friday’s main features.  Most weeks we will highlight one of our outstanding small farmers in Santa Rosa County to let the people of the county get to know these great people.  Our inaugural highlighted farmer is Dr. Herb Lundy.

Dr. Lundy is a blueberry and pecan grower who has served our community for his entire career.  Not only does he have a wonderful U-pick blueberry operation open to the public, but he served as a Veterinarian in Milton before his retirement.  Now he enjoys his retirement by caring for the blueberries and pecan trees on the property that he grew up on, in the Allentown community.  One great feature of his blueberry patch, named “Lundy’s Berry Patch”, is his labels for every variety on his property.  If you were to visit to pick some blueberries, ask Dr. Lundy to show you the different varieties of Rabbiteye and Southern Highbush we discussed earlier.

What is being planted?

Cotton, Peanuts, Okra, Southern Peas, Sweet Potatoes *

What is being harvested?

Squash, Zucchini, Cucumbers, Beans *

Production Notes:

This section will become more specific in the future, but for now here is a great publication on vegetable gardening in Florida.

 

*This list is a highlight, not comprehensive.

Permanent link to this article: http://santarosa.ifas.ufl.edu/hort/2012/05/18/food-fueled-friday-518/